China bans all US poultry over bird flu scare

By Georgi Gyton

- Last updated on GMT

The ban covers processed and unprocessed products and breeding stock
The ban covers processed and unprocessed products and breeding stock

Related tags Avian influenza Bird Influenza Livestock Poultry

China has reacted to the recent avian influenza outbreaks with a blanket ban on all US poultry and egg products.

A joint statement by the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) and the General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) said the country had imposed the nationwide restrictions with effect from 8 January.

The ban covers processed and unprocessed products, including breeding stock.

The US has suffered recent outbreaks of both the H5N2 and H5N8 strains of avian influenza in recent weeks, in Oregon, California and Washington State. However, the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has been quick to point out that the virus has not been found in any flocks of commercial poultry in the US.

According to the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC), China is a key export market for chicken, duck and turkey products, with exports to the market totalling more than $272m for the period from January to November 2014.

It claimed a nationwide ban in response to isolated incidents of highly pathogenic avian influenza went against the international guidelines set out by the World Organisation for Animal Health, which recommended countries adopt a regional approach to such outbreaks in order to minimise trade disruption.

Jim Sumner, president of the US Poultry & Egg Export Council, said: "There’s absolutely no justification for China to take such a drastic action. In fact, these isolated and remote incidents are hundreds if not thousands of miles away from major poultry and egg production areas.

"Most all of our other trading partners have taken some sort of regionalised approach, and have limited their restrictions to the state or, in some cases, to the county. We would have expected China to do the same."

He added that the ban on breeding stock could also hit China’s own domestic market.

According to a statement published by the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) yesterday (13 January), it is still unclear whether the ban extends to cooked products.

* In related news, several further outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza have been discovered in Chinese Taipei. Two reports were submitted to the World Organisation for Animal Health on 12 January regarding an outbreak of the H5N2 strain of the virus.

In Pingtung County (Xinpi township), 120,000 birds were said to be susceptible to the virus following the deaths of three chickens on a farm, with all the remaining poultry to be culled. Meanwhile, five other outbreaks in Yunlin County, and Pingtung County (Wandab township) were found in duck and geese farms, with more than 26,000 birds set to be destroyed as a result.

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